Will the Real Modern Talking Please Stand Up? | Culture| Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany | DW | 10.08.2004
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Will the Real Modern Talking Please Stand Up?

In a pop music scandal of potentially Milli Vanilli-sized proportions, a little-known singer is claiming to be the real voice of one of Germany's most famous bands, Modern Talking.


Modern Talking's Thomas Anders (left) and Dieter Bohlen.

"I'm the true voice of Modern Talking," singer Nino de Angelo told the tabloid newspaper Bild am Sonntag. "Without me, their last three albums would have never been made."

If De Angelo's accusations are true, they could jeopardize the careers of Modern Talking's famous front-men, Thomas Anders and Dieter Bohlen.

Anders and Bohlen first rose to international fame in the 1980's with hits such as "You're My Heart, You're My Soul," and "Cheri Cheri Lady." Although the band broke up last year, both men continue to be household names in Germany.

As a composer and record producer, Bohlen writes hit songs for young German artists, and was the main celebrity juror on Germany's version of the popular television casting show, "Pop Idol." Anders is concentrating on his solo career.

Band was protecting its image

During the Modern Talking era, Anders was the main vocalist, while Bohlen's falsetto featured on the back-up vocals. Or so everyone thought.

"The whole country knows that Dieter (Bohlen) can't sing," said De Angelo. "But that I had to come in to improve Thomas Anders' vocals -- that would've really hurt his image. He's a nice guy, but his vocal talents are limited."

"Thomas Anders would usually come into the studio for a day, sing a bit, and then disappear. I did the rest of the work with the sound engineers," De Angelo told Bild am Sonntag, adding that had the extent of his work been made known, it would have made the Modern Talking duo "look stupid."

Musicians' group investigating

De Angelo said he is annoyed that his name appears nowhere on any of the Modern Talking albums. All he got for his vocal stylings was a mere €10,000 ($12,000) per album. The 40-year old singer is reported to be carrying some €1.4 million in debt, and is currently trying to drum up interest in a new book about his supposedly wild lifestyle.

However, according to the newspaper report, De Angelo's revelations about his role in the success of Modern Talking came about because of a routine check by GVL, an organization that represents artists on matters of copyright and royalty payments.

"We're researching who really did the singing, and if payments were falsely collected," GVL's Tilo Gerlach told Bild am Sonntag. "We're questioning everyone associated with Modern Talking."

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